8 shows to see this weekend and beyond

Whether you’re celebrating the holiday or seeking a reprieve from it, there are some intriguing live shows and exhibits on the horizon. Here’s a partial rundown.

Holiday shows roll on

There’s still time to catch some fun seasonal performances in the Bay Area. Here are four you should know about.

Dave Koz and Friends: The contemporary jazz saxophonist brings his 25th annual holiday show to the Bay Area, featuring guest artists Rick Braun, Peter White, Keiko Matsui and Rebecca Jade.

Details: 8 p.m. Dec. 22; San Jose Civic, San Jose; $59-$99; www.davekoz.com.

“All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914”: A performance inspired by the unlikely and spontaneous holiday truce that broke out during World War I. Details: 7:30 pm. Dec. 22; Bankhead Theater, Livermore; $20-$110; livermorearts.org.

Unique Derique: The popular Bay Area entertainer and teacher brings his beloved, giggle-inducing, holiday show for kids and adults alike, “Fool La La: A Holiday Gift,” to the East Bay, full of gags, circus acts, juggling and hamboning. Details: Through Dec. 30; The Marsh Berkeley; $10-$100, also available to live-stream, $20; themarsh.org.

— Bay Area staff and correspondents

Kung Pao comedy is back

You might not know who Lisa Geduldig is but she is an indelible part of the Bay Area holiday entertainment fabric. In fact, she fills a role almost no one else does, because if you’re dying to get out of the house on Christman night – when most entertainment venues are dark – and laugh yourself silly at a live comedy show, well, she’s got your back. Geduldig is a longtime Bay Area comedian who’s best known as the founder, host and annual participant of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy, which since 1993 has served up live comedy (with an optional Chinese dinner) three nights a year, including on Christmas. This year’s shows are Friday through Sunday (Dec. 23-25), and although the dinner options are no longer available, you can still book a seat for the comedy shows (or watch them from home, if you’d rather). Among this year’s performers are standup veteran and writer Mark Schiff, who has toured frequently with Jerry Seinfeld and was a regular screenwriter for the sitcom “Mad About You”; Cathy Ladman, known for her appearances on “The Tonight Show,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Modern Family”; Orion Levine, a veteran of the standup circuit who’s based in Berkeley; Geduldig, and her 91-year-old mom, Arline, who became with a favorite with Geduldig’s audiences when Lisa was hosting regular “Lockdown Comedy” Zoom shows during the pandemic (Arline will appear via video). The laughs start at 6 p.m. each night, one hour after dinner. The New Asia Restaurant, which hosted the event for years, closed during the pandemic so this year’s show will take place at “The Kung Pao Room” at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco.  If you can’t make the shows, you can catch the next episode of Geduldig’s “Lockdown Comedy” on Jan. 19.

Details: 5 p.m. dinner, 6 p.m. show; 2266 California St., San Francisco; 30-$100, for live show, $30-$75 for live-streamed; www.koshercomedy.com.

— Bay Area News Foundation

Vienna Teng back in Berkeley

Two decades after the release of her star-making debut album “Waking Hour,” Saratoga-raised singer, songwriter and pianist Vienna Teng has followed her muse to some fascinating places, including a parallel career working to mitigate climate change after earning a degree in environmental sustainability.

As a composer, she wrote the score for Tanya Shaffer’s musical “The Fourth Messenger,” a trenchant inquiry into the nature of enlightenment. Returning to the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley for her annual winter residency, Teng has been writing music inspired by her experience raising a baby during height of the pandemic.

The new body of work centers on twined songs “We’ve Got You,” a yin-yang meditation about representing a community’s highest ideals and depending upon community at moments of crisis. With Teng, philosophical musings, visceral pleas, and spiritual investigations all come wrapped in exquisite songcraft.

Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday and Dec. 29; Freight & Salvage, Berkeley; $40-$44; www.thefreight.org.

— Andrew Gilbert, Correspondent

A sculpture by Patricia Piccinini, “While She Sleeps, 2021,” is featured at a new gallery show in San Francisco. ((Photo by Miles Petersen/Hosfelt Gallery 

Creature features on display

A woman as big and hairy as a gorilla. A bat-boy hanging under wings of his own flesh. A smiling girl playing with blobby, puppy-sized stem cells.

These are some of the freakish creations of Patricia Piccinini, an Australian artist who makes extremely realistic sculptures of beings that aren’t real… yet. Much of Piccinini’s work is informed by the possibilities of genetic engineering and our relationships to animals. While you might not want to see one of her critters under your bed at night, they are weirdly endearing, with a childish vulnerability and body enhancements like armored scales that suggest they’re here on a mission of protection.

Piccinini’s latest show, “A Tangled Path Sustains Us,” features multimedia works and an artificial forest inhabited by three-dimensional creatures evolved to survive humanity’s impact. Writes the gallery: “Made of silicone and real fur or hair, they leap right over any ‘uncanny valley.’ They are the immediately imaginable consequences of climate change, environmental degradation and theriocide.” If the show’s portent proves true, the future’s going to get weirder than we could ever imagine.

Details: Through Jan. 28; Hosfelt Gallery, 260 Utah St., San Francisco; hours 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-7p.m. Thursday; hosfeltgallery.com

— John Metcalfe, Staff

There’s something about Harry

Singer-songwriter, composer, actor and former “American Idol” judge Harry Connick Jr. loves the Christmas season. It’s not all about the fancy gifts, twinkling lights and the holiday rush for the Connick family, the 55-year-old performer insists. It’s more about the time spent together, lounging around the house with his wife, Jill, who he says is an “absolutely amazing cook,” and their three adult daughters.

Before that happens, Connick is closing out 2022 with his first holiday tour in a handful of years, which is in support of his fourth Christmas album, “Make It Merry,” that began streaming exclusively on Apple Music on Nov. 26. The tour stops at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on Saturday, where he’ll be backed by his own band; the concert does not include the San Francisco Symphony.

For his concerts, Connick will be playing selections from his latest album, including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and newly-recorded versions of his original songs, “(It Must’ve Been Ol’) Santa Claus” and “When My Heart Finds Christmas.” He also has two new songs: “On This Christmas Morning” and the album title track, “Make It Merry.”

“There are different ways to write these songs,” he said of his holiday songwriting process. “You can write them autobiographically or you can just write like I did with ‘Make It Merry.’ That’s about a guy who’s alone and all he really wants is for this person to consider to come spend the holiday with him and that one’s not from personal experience. But definitely some of them go back to my own childhood.

Details: 2 p.m. Dec. 24; Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco; $45-$225; sfsymphony.org.

— Kelli Skye Fadroski, Southern California News Group

Frivolity with Ferrell

Sure, you can spin that TV remote all around the grid any day this month and probably land on a holiday-appropriate screening of a green-clad, pointy-hatted Will Ferrell going outlandishly over the top in New Line Cinema’s “Elf.” But why not watch Buddy, the gargantuan guy raised at the North Pole who didn’t know for most of his life that he is really a human, look for his real father on a huge screen while the San Francisco Symphony plays the 2003 film score live on the Davies Hall stage? The movie screens Dec. 21-22.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 2 p.m. Dec. 22; terrace seats are all snapped up, but there are great seats available; $110-$230; www.sfsymphony.org.

— Bay Area News Foundation

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